News

Home design: Where do our garages belong?

Front doors and porches should welcome visitors to your home, not an oppressive garage, argue city planners who are pushing builders to relocate them to the backyard

By Sheila Brady, The Ottawa Citizen February 12, 2013
1
Home design: Where do our garages belong?

Cardel is among builders set to launch a demonstration project in Longfields, bringing homes with rear garages.

Photograph by: Handout photo , Ottawa Citizen

You've seen them on countless suburban streets and maybe winced. They are snout houses: the design reality caused by builders trying to balance rising land prices, shrinking lots, maintaining affordability and delivering convenience for suburban families demanding double-car garages.

These are mostly suburban homes where garages dominate, sticking out front of the house and all but hiding the front door and any windows. Forget about front porches and room for a tiny outdoor living room to dally and say hello to the neighbours. Instead, thousands of homes built in suburban communities in the '80s and '90s were about Home Sweet Garage. But there are rumblings of a garage revolution.

"It's the evolution of the garage," says Alain Miguelez, program manager of development review for the inner urban area of Ottawa. To start, the city passed a zoning bylaw last May forbidding garages on lots measuring less than 7.6 metres if there is no rear access and imposing restrictions on bigger lots, telling developers who want to do business in the city's five inner wards they would have to tuck garages in the rear or have access off a rear lane. A garage on a lot bigger than 7.6 metres cannot take up more than 50 per cent of the house face.

The zoning bylaw is being contested by the building industry and a decision by the Ontario Municipal Board is expected shortly. (See Garage Wars on page 3) There is also a discussion ready to start to modify garages in the suburbs, says Miguelez, who expects talks with builders, developers and community groups will take place over the next 18 to 24 months.

The aim is to take the emphasis off the garage and put it on the house, he says, citing new communities such as Minto's Ampersand in Barrhaven. The energy-efficient walk-up apartments have front doors facing the streets and parking tucked into the interior. Ampersand was built to be close to public transportation, shops and restaurants, taking the reliance off the car.

Mattamy Homes has also developed communities with rear parking in both Fairwinds in Kanata by Scotiabank Place and in Half Moon Bay in Barrhaven.

"These are the type of community planning we will value in the future," says Miguelez.

The concept to overhaul garages is not new.

Snout houses were banned in Portland, Ore., in 2000, despite an uproar from the building industry. But it's a tough battle. Planners in Independence, Texas, for example, looked at banning snout houses in 2004 but backed away.

Contingents of architects and planners have promoted the concept of New Urbanism since the '90s, developing communities built on a grid pattern, with small parks and garages behind homes, like Seaside in Florida and Cornell north of Toronto.

- See more at: http://www.househunting.ca/edmonton/Home+design+Where+garages+belong/7952924/story.html#sthash.xkLL6UC7.dpuf

Home design: Where do our garages belong?

Front doors and porches should welcome visitors to your home, not an oppressive garage, argue city planners who are pushing builders to relocate them to the backyard

By Sheila Brady, The Ottawa Citizen February 12, 2013
1
Home design: Where do our garages belong?

Cardel is among builders set to launch a demonstration project in Longfields, bringing homes with rear garages.

Photograph by: Handout photo , Ottawa Citizen

You've seen them on countless suburban streets and maybe winced. They are snout houses: the design reality caused by builders trying to balance rising land prices, shrinking lots, maintaining affordability and delivering convenience for suburban families demanding double-car garages.

These are mostly suburban homes where garages dominate, sticking out front of the house and all but hiding the front door and any windows. Forget about front porches and room for a tiny outdoor living room to dally and say hello to the neighbours. Instead, thousands of homes built in suburban communities in the '80s and '90s were about Home Sweet Garage. But there are rumblings of a garage revolution.

"It's the evolution of the garage," says Alain Miguelez, program manager of development review for the inner urban area of Ottawa. To start, the city passed a zoning bylaw last May forbidding garages on lots measuring less than 7.6 metres if there is no rear access and imposing restrictions on bigger lots, telling developers who want to do business in the city's five inner wards they would have to tuck garages in the rear or have access off a rear lane. A garage on a lot bigger than 7.6 metres cannot take up more than 50 per cent of the house face.

The zoning bylaw is being contested by the building industry and a decision by the Ontario Municipal Board is expected shortly. (See Garage Wars on page 3) There is also a discussion ready to start to modify garages in the suburbs, says Miguelez, who expects talks with builders, developers and community groups will take place over the next 18 to 24 months.

The aim is to take the emphasis off the garage and put it on the house, he says, citing new communities such as Minto's Ampersand in Barrhaven. The energy-efficient walk-up apartments have front doors facing the streets and parking tucked into the interior. Ampersand was built to be close to public transportation, shops and restaurants, taking the reliance off the car.

Mattamy Homes has also developed communities with rear parking in both Fairwinds in Kanata by Scotiabank Place and in Half Moon Bay in Barrhaven.

"These are the type of community planning we will value in the future," says Miguelez.

The concept to overhaul garages is not new.

Snout houses were banned in Portland, Ore., in 2000, despite an uproar from the building industry. But it's a tough battle. Planners in Independence, Texas, for example, looked at banning snout houses in 2004 but backed away.

Contingents of architects and planners have promoted the concept of New Urbanism since the '90s, developing communities built on a grid pattern, with small parks and garages behind homes, like Seaside in Florida and Cornell north of Toronto.

- See more at: http://www.househunting.ca/edmonton/Home+design+Where+garages+belong/7952924/story.html#sthash.xkLL6UC7.dpuf

Home design: Where do our garages belong?

Front doors and porches should welcome visitors to your home, not an oppressive garage, argue city planners who are pushing builders to relocate them to the backyard

By Sheila Brady, The Ottawa Citizen February 12, 2013
Home design: Where do our garages belong?

Cardel is among builders set to launch a demonstration project in Longfields, bringing homes with rear garages.

Photograph by: Handout photo , Ottawa Citizen

You've seen them on countless suburban streets and maybe winced. They are snout houses: the design reality caused by builders trying to balance rising land prices, shrinking lots, maintaining affordability and delivering convenience for suburban families demanding double-car garages.

These are mostly suburban homes where garages dominate, sticking out front of the house and all but hiding the front door and any windows. Forget about front porches and room for a tiny outdoor living room to dally and say hello to the neighbours. Instead, thousands of homes built in suburban communities in the '80s and '90s were about Home Sweet Garage. But there are rumblings of a garage revolution.

"It's the evolution of the garage," says Alain Miguelez, program manager of development review for the inner urban area of Ottawa. To start, the city passed a zoning bylaw last May forbidding garages on lots measuring less than 7.6 metres if there is no rear access and imposing restrictions on bigger lots, telling developers who want to do business in the city's five inner wards they would have to tuck garages in the rear or have access off a rear lane. A garage on a lot bigger than 7.6 metres cannot take up more than 50 per cent of the house face.

The zoning bylaw is being contested by the building industry and a decision by the Ontario Municipal Board is expected shortly. (See Garage Wars on page 3) There is also a discussion ready to start to modify garages in the suburbs, says Miguelez, who expects talks with builders, developers and community groups will take place over the next 18 to 24 months.

The aim is to take the emphasis off the garage and put it on the house, he says, citing new communities such as Minto's Ampersand in Barrhaven. The energy-efficient walk-up apartments have front doors facing the streets and parking tucked into the interior. Ampersand was built to be close to public transportation, shops and restaurants, taking the reliance off the car.

Mattamy Homes has also developed communities with rear parking in both Fairwinds in Kanata by Scotiabank Place and in Half Moon Bay in Barrhaven.

"These are the type of community planning we will value in the future," says Miguelez.

The concept to overhaul garages is not new.

Snout houses were banned in Portland, Ore., in 2000, despite an uproar from the building industry. But it's a tough battle. Planners in Independence, Texas, for example, looked at banning snout houses in 2004 but backed away.

Contingents of architects and planners have promoted the concept of New Urbanism since the '90s, developing communities built on a grid pattern, with small parks and garages behind homes, like Seaside in Florida and Cornell north of Toronto.

ARTICLE CONTINUED HERE